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Best wired earbuds 2023

If you're looking for a great set of earbuds and aren't convinced that wireless is the way to go, we have a list of the best wired earbuds your money can buy.

best wired earbuds

If you’re after a pair of the best earbuds possible, but aren’t necessarily sold that the best quality comes from wireless technology, well, you’re in luck as we have a list of the best wired earbuds that money can buy.

These are all audiophile grade earbuds and IEMs (in ear monitors) that can serve you well in any situation. Now, obviously, if you use any of these options with a DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) or amp, they’re going to sound incredible, but the beauty of this list is that you won’t need that. You could plug these into your computer straight away and carry on with your day while listening to some pristine audio.

It goes without saying that this list of the best wired earbuds is far from exhaustive, but we think it’s a great starting point for anyone who is looking to start their shopping journey in search of quality wired earbuds.

best earbuds under $100 - shure se215

1. Sennheiser IE-600

Let’s start off with a very safe and non-contentious pick, the Sennheiser IE-600. The IE-600s come in at the top of the consumer range where their audiophile in-ear headphones live. Sennheiser has done something incredible here, creating a dynamic driver IEM with some serious sound quality. Expect to pay $700.

The bass and lower mids are present, powerful yet controlled. The upper mids and treble sparkly though that may be perceived by some as grating or shrill. Though the rest of the sound is a dream. They are quite technical as well, enough to be able to pick out really anything you wanted in a song with ease.

Construction on these are also top notch. They’re machined from a solid piece of metal giving each IEM a solid heft. Coupled with the included para-aramid reinforced cable, you have a durable and premium feeling package.

For what you get, the value proposition is insane, with the IE-600’s going toe to toe with IEM’s that cost two times as much and winning a lot of the time.

best wired earbuds - blessing 2

2. Moondrop Blessing 2

Next up, let’s talk about one of the darlings of the Chinese IEM space, the Moondrop Blessing 2. Sporting a package of a single dynamic driver and three balanced armature drivers, Moondrop created a beautiful IEM that holds a candle to many of the more expensive buds on the market today. Expect to pay $320.

The Blessing 2 is made from a soft resin material, with a metal face plate. That being said, the tunnel is a touch larger than normal, so if you have smaller ears, these might be a touch uncomfortable. The frequency response is incredibly neutral, with a beautiful and sparkly top end.

If you have a little bit of a budget concern, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value proposition than the Blessing 2.

best wired earbuds - hexa

3. Truthear HEXA

Now we can’t talk about the glory of the Moondrop Blessing 2 without talking about the little brother of them, the Truthear HEXA. What the Blessing 2 did to the general Chi-Fi IEM market, the HEXA is doing to the sub $100 space, coming in gunning for every other IEM in the space and winning. Expect to pay $80.

There are a lot of comparisons to the Blessing 2 that we can draw to the HEXA. Its housing is made from a resin with a metal faceplate. While the Blessing stated its elegance in design, the HEXA brings a rugged look with sharper lines on its faceplate. The HEXA also sports the same driver set up, with one dynamic driver and three balanced armature drivers, and the tuning is incredible.

It’s very clear that the HEXA were inspired by the Blessing 2 in terms of its specs, but it also boasts a relatively similar sound signature to it as well. Where the HEXA differs is that it has a slightly higher bass rise, and a little less of that treble sparkle. This makes for a very mild V shape curve, but one that’s a lot smoother of a listen, albeit a bit less technical. 

If you’re someone who wants outstanding sound quality, with great clarity that you can listen to for longer periods of time, at an almost unethical price point, then the Truthear HEXA is for you.

best wired earbuds - sony ier

4. Sony IER-Z1R

Now that we’re through the sub $1,000 picks, let’s jump to the other end of the spectrum, with a very well known and respected brand, Sony. The Sony IER-Z1R is  a rather interesting unit by comparison to the IEMs that came before it. But what you do get is a professionally complete package. Expect to pay $1,700.

The IER-Z1R from Sony sports a beautiful all metal chassis, with a three driver design, 2 dynamic drivers, and one balanced armature driver. This is a very unique set up, with the two dynamic drivers handling the bass and the trebles, giving them wonderful amounts of extension and clarity.

Another great thing about purchasing the IER-Z1R is the insane amount of accessories that you get with them. You get 10 sets of eartips, a nice carrying case, and two different detachable cables.

These IEMs do not play around, and if you’re looking for a serious new pair of IEMs for a home studio or work set up, then you cannot go wrong with the Sony IER-Z1R.

best wired earbuds - monarch mk2

5. ThieAudio Monarch Mk II

Next up in our top end segment, we have another Chinese IEM, the ThieAudio Monarch Mk. II. These IEMs have yet another unique set of drivers in them compared to our other picks, which combined with its wonderful tuning make for an incredible experience. Expect to pay $1,000.

First off, the Monarch Mk. II sport a nine driver set up, one dynamic driver, six balanced armature drivers and two electrostatic drivers, giving these IEMs an extra level of clarity and accuracy in sound reproduction. The frequency response on the Monarch Mk II’s is very neutral and balanced, with a slight bass boost

The housing is made from a smokey black resin with a beautiful almost iron looking face plate. One of the cool things about this IEM is the cable. While it has a great two-pin detachable cable, the cable has another feature that no other cable on this list has. On the other end of the cable, the headphone jack connection also is detachable and can be swapped for different sizes. The IEM comes with a 3.5 mm unbalanced connector, a 2.5 mm balanced connector, and a 4.4 mm balanced connector so that you can swap them on the fly. Not to mention, all the hardware here looks incredibly premium, which helps to justify the price tag.

best wired earbuds - audio64

6. 64Audio U12T

Our final IEM on the list is the 64Audio U12T. Now 64Audio brings another very unique set of features with this IEM that give you a bit of choice in how you enjoy the IEMs. That being said, these do command quite the price tag, so let’s look at them. Expect to pay $2,000.

The housing on these is a light aluminum that gives a solid feel of quality. The U12T are the universal versions of these IEMs, meaning that they don’t have much sculpting on the housings, rather, they’re mostly flat on the ear facing side. The A12T is the custom version, which has a molded housing.

Inside those shells are 12 balanced armature drivers, which is the most that we’ve seen, and while many may think that those tiny things can’t handle bass well compared to a dynamic driver, these drivers are putting in work. The sound signature on these is a bass boosted, with neutral mids, and a great detail in the treble region. This leads to incredibly detailed resolution and clarity that’s overall wonderful to listen to.

One of the more unique features on the U12T, and other 64Audio IEMs is the Apex Modules. These are swappable vents that change the level of isolation and bass response that you get from the IEMs. The U12T comes with three Apex modules: the M15 as the stock, the M20 which gives the most bass response and isolation, and the MX which is more open and gives less bass response. 

Additionally you get a bunch of ear tips in both silicone and foam so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a set that’s comfortable for you. It also comes with a nice leather covered hard case to protect your IEMs and you’ll want to use it.

And that’s our list! Hopefully, we’ve given you some insight into what the high end of IEMs can give you, if you have the money to float for them of course. Are your favorites missing from our list? Let us know!